5 Most Visited Places in Morocco
From charming coastal cities to the rugged beauty of the Atlas Mountains and sprawling Sahara Desert, bustling souks to breathtaking mosques and regal riads, Morocco is a fascinating destination that effortlessly blends Berber, Arabian and European customs. Over 11 million tourists visited this unique corner of North Africa in 2017, an increase of more than 10% from the previous year. Here’s the lowdown of the five places they visited most.
Founded by Idriss I in 789, Fes is Morocco’s oldest city, and one often billed as the nation’s capital of culture. The UNESCO-protected Fes el-Bali is the ancient walled old town, where Marinid-style buildings, souks and leather tanneries line almost 10,000 snaking alleyways. This is the place to shop for hand-woven buttons, blue-and-white Fes pottery and yellow leather slippers. Stop by the Al Attarine and Bou Inania schools to admire outstanding examples of Islamic architecture. Every summer the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music welcomes religious musicians from around the world.
Tangier is the main port between Europe and Africa, with hundreds traveling across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain every day since Phoenician times. This most European of Moroccan cities still maintains elements of the bohemian air that inspired Paul Bowles’ Sheltering Sky and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Wander the streets of the whitewashed medina, where the former palace of sultans Dar el Makhzen is now the venue for the Kasbah Museum. Gaze across the ocean at the Rock of Gibraltar from Cape Malabata and visit Hercules Caves, where folklore tells us that its namesake Greek god once stayed.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman championed Casablanca in their iconic 1942 Hollywood romance, and it still excites with its beach resorts, French colonial legacy and nightlife. Created in the 19th century, the Old Medina is somewhat of a modern marketplace and is the city’s hotspot for shopping and street food. Include a visit to the Hassan Mosque II, Morocco’s largest mosque that features the work of 10,000 artisans and can hold over 100,000 worshippers. Rick’s Cafe recreates the decor and atmosphere of the club owned by Bogart in the Oscar-winning movie.
This exciting coastal resort occupies a privileged location between the the Atlantic Ocean and Anti-Atlas Mountains. It lures visitors with its sweeping Place d’Agadir beach and a seafront promenade packed with drinking and dining options. The city’s exquisite culinary scene continues at restaurants set around Agadir Marina. If golf is your thing, then you’ll find stunning courses with beach and mountain views; the Royal Golf Club Agadir is one of the finest. South of the city, Souss-Massa National Park has wildlife and a series of authentic Berber villages.
For many, Marrakesh offers an all-encompassing Moroccan experience, and the city welcomed over 2 million tourists in 2017. A sensory overload is imminent the second you set foot in the Medina via Djemaa El-Fna square. Bazaars, tea shops, snake charmers, musicians and acrobats make the labyrinthine old town the city’s pulsating heart. When you aren’t shopping, you can visit the ancient Koutoubia Mosque, ornate Bahia Palace and the magnificent Marrakesh Museum. Slow things down at the Majorelle Garden before retreating to the comfort of your opulent riad hotel.
Start planning your trip to the cities, towns and villages of Morocco here: Visit Morocco.